A lot of history’s great thinkers have laws named after them. Ohm’s Law – something to do with electricity I dimly recall. Sir Isaac Newton was such a brainbox he had loads of laws. And then of course there’s Murphy’s Law – “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”. Well, I may not be a great thinker but I do have a few half decent thoughts – and I think it’s time I added to the sum of human knowledge with a law of my own. Here it is:
I’m reminded of the truth of this every time I open a cupboard door and narrowly escape being crushed to death by the avalanche of rubbish that spills forth… outgrown clothes, long forgotten toys, the giant inflatable unicorn we bought for our last holiday. And as for the garage – it seems to have acquired a Tardis-like ability to accommodate enough junk to fill half a landfill site.
At times this chaos feels like a metaphor for my life in general. Mastering it isn’t just about making the house look a bit tidier. It’s about taking control of my own destiny, getting rid of stuff I don’t need, focusing on the important things. If I can finally impose some order on my surroundings then maybe, just maybe, I can fulfil a few slightly loftier ambitions.
Which is all a rather long winded way of saying I’ve been having a bit of a clear out.
Amazingly, a few weeks on from that chlorine-induced Road to Damascus moment I experienced while watching Tinkerbill thrashing around in the swimming pool, I’m still buoyed up with a determination to achieve a few of my goals in 2018 (not quite as dynamic as it was but still there). The list of jobs we’ve taken on is quite impressive. Khaleesi has organised the laundry cupboard. The spare room, which for months has been so full off junk it was barely possible to get the door open, is now a habitable space again. Bag upon bag of crap has been stuffed into the wheelie bins or taken to the tip. I did make the mistake of taking Groucho with me one time and foolishly allowing her to catch sight of some precious items peeking out of a black bin liner (Needless to say I ended up bring this particular bin liner back home with me). I won’t make that mistake again.
For some of these Herculean tasks, it’s just a question of willpower. The garage, for instance, is daunting simply because of the huge scale of the problem. I open the garage doors, take one look at the mammoth job ahead of me and think: WTF – where do I begin! But when it comes to the kids’ stuff it’s more complicated. Farewell Thomas the Tank engine. No more building preposterously unstable Marble Run towers. Toys they once adored but now ignored because they’re too old for them. It’s not just having a clear out. It’s about saying goodbye to a phase of their childhood.
Some of the toys have received a stay of execution. The younger two might get a year or two more out of the Barbies and the Bratz. They’ve been collected in from every corner of the house and given a new home, in a large plastic bed box under a bed.
But for other toys, we just have to face up to reality. The kids are far too old for them now. They’re taking up too much space. They’ve got to go.
Khaleesi and I look at each other sadly. “But what about if we have grandchildren?’ she pleads. “They’d love to play with these.”
“Yes!” I declare. “You’re absolutely right. Let’s box them up and put them into storage.”